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Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:28 AM

E-book restrictions leave 'buyers' with few rights

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20121223,0,1032270.column

E-book restrictions leave 'buyers' with few rights
Unlike the owners of a physical tome, buyers of e-books are licensees with lots of limitations. It's time to change the rules.
By Michael Hiltzik

There's a crass old joke about how you can never buy beer, just rent it. Who would think that the same joke applies to book buying in the digital age?

But that's the case. Many people who'll be unwrapping iPads, Amazon Kindles or Barnes & Noble Nooks on Tuesday morning and loading them with bestsellers or classics won't have any idea how limited their rights are as their books' "owners."

In fact, they won't be owners at all. They'll be licensees. Unlike the owners of a physical tome, they won't have the unlimited right to lend an e-book, give it away, resell it or leave it to their heirs. If it's bought for their iPad, they won't be able to read it on their Kindle. And if Amazon or the other sellers don't like what they've done with it, they can take it back, without warning.

All these restrictions "raise obvious questions about what 'ownership' is," observes Dan Gillmor, an expert on digital media at Arizona State University. "The companies that license stuff digitally have made it clear that you own nothing."

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply E-book restrictions leave 'buyers' with few rights (Original post)
jsr Dec 2012 OP
teenagebambam Dec 2012 #1
Ed Suspicious Dec 2012 #2
srichardson Dec 2012 #4
dipsydoodle Dec 2012 #20
Ed Suspicious Dec 2012 #21
pscot Dec 2012 #3
duffyduff Dec 2012 #12
NV Whino Dec 2012 #5
Speck Tater Dec 2012 #6
Neoma Dec 2012 #7
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #14
Neoma Dec 2012 #17
Paulie Dec 2012 #18
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #22
SharonAnn Dec 2012 #8
duffyduff Dec 2012 #13
RedCappedBandit Dec 2012 #9
lexx21 Dec 2012 #10
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #15
duffyduff Dec 2012 #11
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #16
mainer Dec 2012 #19
Odin2005 Dec 2012 #23

Response to jsr (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:36 AM

1. I hate to be contrary this early in the morning

but "If it's bought for their iPad, they won't be able to read it on their Kindle" is just wrong. I have an iPad and my partner and mother both have Kindles, and as long as you're signed in under the same Amazon account, any book bought by one of us can be downloaded and read by the others.

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Response to teenagebambam (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:44 AM

2. That's the problem. The book being tied to account. If they would allow some sort

of transfer of license I would be very happy about that. Perhaps they could make it so the book can't reside in two "accounts" at the same time that would go a long way toward making me a happier consumer of digital products. I hate that I have 4 family members with four distinct amazon accounts, and seemingly, short of trading kindles, thereby trading our entire collections, we can't share books. It's an artificial restriction that doesn't serve customer satisfaction. There has to be a better way.

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Response to Ed Suspicious (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 10:00 AM

4. I so agree...

It sucks that when I pay basically the same price for a book, I cannot allow my sister to read it unless I lend her my Kindle. And I am too selfish to do wo my Kindle for days while she reads it. There is a lawsuit that is suppose to reimburse some ebook owners money back, but you have to spend it on new merchandise. They should allow a sharing library to allow others to read a favorite novel. Seems like one other way the big companies have found to screw their customers.

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Response to Ed Suspicious (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:41 PM

20. If you dont agree with the terms

then do it the old fashioned way and buy the book.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #20)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:05 PM

21. Right. Awesome feedback. n/t

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:51 AM

3. The idea of leaving an e-book to ones heirs is laughable

This stuff is ephemera; here today, gone when the gadget poops out. We aren't exactly building for the ages. In a hundred years, it will all be gone.

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Response to pscot (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 11:26 AM

12. Exactly. I don't like this cramming ebooks down my throat.

They should be seen as a convenience but not a substitute for real libraries with real (meaning hardcopy) books.

I will probably buy a reader sometime down the road, but my books are very important to me.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 11:19 AM

5. Much ado about nothing

I wish I could get them off my iPad once I've read them.

And libraries are "lending" e-books.

And if you want to leave it to your heirs, spend the extra money and buy hard copy. Wow, imagine that, they still make hard copies!

Oh yeah, I can read Kindle and/or eBooks. Just download the appropriate app.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 11:19 AM

6. Having once owned a used bookstore...

 

I can tell you that 99.99% of all books ever published are not worth keeping.
If a book is good enough to become a bestseller there will be so many copies floating around that you can pick up at Goodwill for a quarter that those, too, become worthless in a very short time.

I buy a few books on Kindle these days, but mostly I go to the library and check them out for free.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 12:07 PM

7. Some places are barren from used bookstores.

Nashville, TN is a haven for them. (Especially Mckay's!) But up North by Chicago where I live, there's only one good one, and goodwill just has really crappy books. I won't complain because we have a good library though.

I also don't usually read best sellers anyways.

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Response to Neoma (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:10 AM

14. If you are close to Chicago...

...head over to Hyde Park (U of C) for a good selection of used and new book stores.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:53 AM

17. Long drive.

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Response to Neoma (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:09 PM

18. Half priced books is around

I think the closest is in countryside.

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Response to Neoma (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:19 PM

22. Oh well... (NT)

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 04:01 PM

8. I use my e-Readers to check out public library e-books. That way, I don't have to "buy" them.

Most of my casual reading is fiction and these are not books that I'm every going to re-read.

For important non-fiction, I still buy the hard copy.

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Response to SharonAnn (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 11:29 AM

13. That's what I would do if I had a reader.

I like the idea of having a real library of "real" books. I fear having hardcopy books will be a privilege only for the rich. Nobody else will actually be able to have anything tangible.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 05:36 AM

9. Little tech savy goes a long way

Valid point, though.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 09:37 AM

10. Plenty of classics in the public domain

that's what's on my nook. I like it that way.

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Response to lexx21 (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:13 AM

15. +10 I've read tens, but only bought one ebook since getting my reader.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 11:19 AM

11. Ebooks are a convenience, but I prefer the real thing

You really don't own anything when you have nothing but downloads.

I don't see ebooks as a replacement for "real" books, but the readers are something useful on trips and such. Not to mention you pay through the nose for something that isn't truly yours.

Ditto for music downloads in lieu of vinyl and CDs or Netflix in place of DVDs. I don't regard them as substitutes for tangible items but supplemental.

I don't like the movement to cram these technologies down my throat. I have many "real" books that I want to keep because I have almost all nonfiction books in my collection. Plus you can't get Ebooks autographed, and I have quite a few autographed books, and ebooks are worth NOTHING to collectors.

Ebooks have a place, but I will be damned if I want to be denied to right to OWN a real or hardcopy book.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:16 AM

16. My library system has a good selection of current ebooks for loan...

... they use Adobe's digital rights management. You get to read the book for two weeks, then it self destructs. The book can then be downloaded by another patron. I tried it once just to see how it works and it work just fine.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:15 PM

19. I heard a futurist predict that hardcover books will be collector's items

And in 50 years, new hardcovers will be hard to find, because publishers will have such little profit margin in producing them. "So collect them now," he said. "They'll be worth something someday."

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:23 AM

23. This is why I will never buy a e-reader

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